World Open Water Championships: Alex Meyer of the U.S., Linsy Heister of The Netherlands Win 25Ks

ROBERVAL, Canada, July 22. THE last day of the World Open Water Championships came to a close with a pair of marathon 25K races.

Alex Meyer of the U.S. used a final-sprint strategy, hanging with the lead pack throughout the entire 25K race and never leading until capturing the victory at the touch. Meyer clocked in at 5:32:39.38 to win the marathon race, while Italy's Valerio Cleri just lost at the touch with a silver-winning time of 5:32:40.40. Cleri used a leader strategy throughout, posting lead splits at the 10K, 17.5K, 20K and 22.5K marks). Bulgaria's Petar Stoychev finished third with a bronze-winning 5:33:50.29.

"Winning this race really means more to me than graduating from Harvard in May," Meyer said. "I am an open water swimmer. I identify with this sport, and also with the athletes competing here. I have put a lot of work in open water swimming, so this race was very important. Cleri is one of the world's best open water swimmers, and I certainly thought he would be the fastest in the field. I feel I am a better sprinter. I think I snuck up on Cleri, and I don't think he knew I was close behind him."

The Netherlands' Linsy Heister claimed the women's 25K title with a time of 5:52:13.06, making her move at the 17.5K mark, when she took the lead for good with a 4:10:28.35 split. Spain's Margarita Minguez Cabezas took silver with a time of 5:55:59.29, while France's Celia Barrot rounded out the podium with a third-place 5:57:02.87. Haley Anderson of the U.S. finished just off the podium with a fourth-place 6:00:15.23.

"I felt really good today, very strong in fact," Heister said. "In the fifth or sixth lap, I made plans to escape the lead pack. I felt this was the time for me to make my move. Since you don't have eyes in the back of your head, you really don't know what is going on, so I just kept going. It's so unreal, I still can't believe that I won this race. I miss my mom, and I really wish that she could be here with me today."

10K victor Martina Grimaldi of Italy lost her chance for a double when she touched a feeding dock

"I stopped to drink, and there were many others coming in at the same time," Grimaldi told reporters through an interpreter. "Someone pushed me and instinctively tried to steady myself and I touched the dock only to gain my balance and completely by accident. I am very angry, as I thought I could win this race. I felt very comfortable with the race and confident after winning the 10K so easily. On balance, I am very pleased with my performances at these World Championships."